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Old 12-07-2009, 20:00   #1
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Howe Sound

anyone sailing in the Howe Sound area today? We were returning to Vancouver from West Bay near Gibsons and we got caught in a crazy southerly wind storm coming down Howe Sound and across the Strait, between Bowen, Gambier and Bowyer. I'd say 25 knots, and it was a struggle to get the sails down. We anchored a bit in Smugglers Cove to rest, then headed out (a friend at jericho told me it was dead calm there). 3' swell once we rounded the NE end of Bowen, between Horseshoe Bay and Snug Cove. Our little 9.9 hp got us through, but it was bouncy.
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Old 12-07-2009, 20:54   #2
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Howe sound is famous (infamous) for the catabatic (spelling) or out flow winds. Things can look and be normal out in the straight but you will have strong winds that come down of the mountains and funnel right down Howe Sound. Years ago I worked at a marina on the sound and have witnessed several water spouts making their way down. Weather channels on the VHF is usualy good with forcasting "strong outflow winds"
They can make an otherwise normal day a bit more "interesting"
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Old 12-07-2009, 21:16   #3
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I can tell you about Squamish,where the wind velocity is 5 times what it is 5 miles out in the Sound (windsurfing capital of south coast)and today was the strongest inflow of the year.My boat dragged badlly around noon or so.What a fiascoTrying to get anchor up,as channel (anchorage)is very narrow.Managed to tie up to friends boat at dock (anchor still down)till wind died a bit.The strong outflow is in Dec.,January when its minus 20.
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Old 12-07-2009, 22:30   #4
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I was watching this one come up too; luckily I'm far away from it.

Looks like it was blowing 30+ at Sisters Island, Halibut had 20s, same with Sandheads. The wind seemed mostly south-easterlies, but some flaky directions just before noon. I don't have any weather stations on my list inside Howe Sound, so I don't know what the weather was there.

Congratulations on getting through it! Make sure you write down your impressions, what you did, and what seemed to work/not work. I always seem to learn more if I write it down, which makes me think through what actually happened.
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Old 12-07-2009, 22:55   #5
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Pam Rocks observations from Environment Canada show a good blow - 40 knots from the South at 1200. Gusting to 50.

The Squamish is an outflow, katabatic wind. This looks like an inflow, anabatic wind.

I have never been hit by a Squamish. Got caught by a Qualicum once.

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Old 12-07-2009, 23:07   #6
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Yep! Keep in mind that's km/hr, so 22 knots or so, gusting 27, rather than reported in nm/hr. But in those narrow channels it would regularly get higher and lower than that especially near headlands; a nasty day!

Everyone who came in from that should be patting themselves on the back.
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Old 12-07-2009, 23:33   #7
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Right - km not kn.

Note to self read header.

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Old 13-07-2009, 00:55   #8
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we were anchored out in montegue harbour last night kickedup a little around midnight but by 10 am it was blowing a good 25kn we were on a mooring ball but a big 50ft powercruiser was on anchor completely oblivious to the fact that he was dragging across the anchorage. several of us blow air horns to get his attention he almost collided with a couple of boats just barely missing them. his anchor finally caught and he got his engines started and proceeded to tie up to a ball. must have been a little scary for the people he came close to crashing into.
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Old 13-07-2009, 08:50   #9
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Montague looks like it is really well protected. It is lead photo in Clark's article and he mentions it as a good anchorage. I have been in there in big blows and it can get quite nasty. I watched several boats drag about 7 years ago; fortunately no collisions.

Lots of folks short scope in there. If anchored, I try to get at least 4:1 and that usually requires anchoring in the middle to get enough swing room.
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Old 13-07-2009, 12:45   #10
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I'm going to post a more detailed version of what happened to us, as we ran into some significant problems trying to get the sails down in the strong winds, and I could use some advice! Will post later - I think theres a separate section for 'drama at sea'
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Old 13-07-2009, 13:18   #11
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Coincidentally, my wife & I drove up to Squamish yesterday, stopping at Porteau Cove to make accomodation arrangements for a future camping trip. When in Squamish, the wind was doing it's typical afternoon blow, a bit stronger than average. As I used to moor/liveaboard my Cal 330 at Sewell's, in Horseshoe Bay, this phenomena is of no great surprise. We used to endure some pretty rough nights in Horseshoe Bay, the worst coming in November. Most years, the docks had to be repaired after these blows & we'd spend much of our boat time re-lashing mooring lines & furling sails which had broken loose on our neighbours' boats. The closer one sails to Squamish, the worse it gets, due to the convergence of winds through the valley of the chief.

Montegue: I used to anchor on the northern side of the spit, until I woke up one morning on my ear, as a late-arriving, early-leaving stinkpot had hauled my anchor rode, along with his, "forgetting" to inform me of the situation, before departure. Montegue harbour, itself, is a pretty good, though busy, anchorage. I find that dropping the pick just off the old ferry ramp, then running a stern line to the pilings is a pretty good area, with enough distance from the "rafters" who seem to be a permanent summer fixture.
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